Ilaiyangudi (or "Ilayangudi") is a town in Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu state, India. It is the center of government for the surrounding tehsils. The town has a predominant Muslim population. Islam was introduced to Ilayangudi during the 6th and 7th centuries by Arab traders. The Muslim community was traditionally engaged in textile weaving, bullock cart driving, farming and the growing of betel leaves. Kadai theru is the central business district.
Location in Tamil Nadu, India
|Coordinates: 9.63°N 78.63°E|
|Elevation||42.6 m (139.8 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
|Sex ratio||1:1.082 ♂/♀|
Ilaiyankudi is located at 9.63°N 78.63°E. It has an average elevation of 43.6 m (143 ft). The town lies in the southern part of Tamil Nadu state, approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the Palk Strait. Its nearest city is Madurai, approximately 70 kilometres (43 mi) to the northwest. The Vaigai river is located approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) southwest of the town, flowing in a south-easterly direction towards the Palk Straight. The town is located near the junction of the state roads 29 and 34, linking Paramakudi to the south and Manamadurai, Sivagangai and Kalayarkoil to the north.
Ilaiyangudi is first recorded in the 3rd century BCE. In the 1st century BCE, followers of the Jain faith reached Tamil Nadu. Iconography of Mahavira (the ascetic Jain monk) from this time is found in Ilaiyangudi. for instance, a Mahavira statue is found outside the main Hindu temple. In general, Buddhist iconography is not found in Ilaiyangudi. However, the town's public water tank is called the therar oorani. The similar word thearar is a Tami term for a Buddhist monk.
The Rajendra Chola Eswara Temple, the main Hindu temple in Ilaiyangudi, was built by King Rajendra Chola I (1012 CE – 1044 CE). It may have been a Jain temple converted to a Shivan temple by the king. The Manju Puthur Chettiyars, the Chettiyars of Ilayangudi were a Jain clan who converted to Shaivism. In Ilaiyangudi, there is an edict engraved on stone which dates to the 11th century.
A Muslim population may have existed in the town in the 7th and 8th centuries CE. They were people who converted from Jainism to Islam. During the rule of the Kalabhra dynasty these people were textile weavers.
However, in the 15th century CE, a larger population of Muslims migrated to Ilaiyangudi from nearby areas. Approximately forty families left more southern regions due to drought and moved north and settled on the outskirts of Ilaiyangudi at Thuraiyan Pacheery where potable water was available. (The area is now located near the main bazaar on Kadai Road.) The existing Pallar farmer caste of people were pushed from this area to the south. The well to do of the town moved to the north side with better amenities and well planned streets. The Ilaiyangudi Muslims became farmers, weavers, bullock cart drivers and some grew betel nut.
Ilaiyangudi lies in the southern part of the Kaveri (Cauvery) river delta. It is in a drought prone area. However, in the district there are two aquifers, the Gondwana and the Cuddalore aquifers. A water reservoir (samuthram) northwest of the town is filled from the Valasaikattu Kanmai, a branch from the Vagai River. The monsoon rain also helps fill the reservoir. The ancient Thevoorani is a small lake in the centre of the town.
Ilaiyangudi has average minimum temperatures around 27 degrees Celsius and average maximum temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius.
At the 2011 Census of India, the population of Ilaiyangudi was 24,767. 12,319 people were female. Males numbered 12,448. There are 990 females for every 1,000 males. Children under six years of age make up 10.73 percent of the population. The literacy rate in the town is 88.94 percent which exceeds the state average of 80.9 percent. 84.33 percent of women are literate. Male literacy is 93.03 percent.
The 2011 census of India found in Ilaiyangudi, 70 percent of residents are Islamic, 27 percent are Hindu, and 3 percent are Christians, both Catholic and Protestant.
The town has four main Muslim groups (jamath) based on their members' occupation. The Ilaiyangudi Nesavu Pattadai (INP) was founded in the mid 16th century, representing textile weavers. The Mela Pattadai represented bullock cart drivers. The Kodikka Pattadai (Salai Hanafi Jamath) represented betel leaf growers and the Salaiyur Nesavu Pattadai (Salai Shaafi Jamath) represented textile weavers.
A first mosque in Ilaiyangudi was built in approximately 1450 CE. It was called the Keela Pallivasal. Further construction was made on the west side of the mosque in 1744, the Mela Pallivasal. A Shafi mosque was built in 1775 CE and an Hanafi mosque in 1811 CE. The INP mosque was built in 1816 CE. The land had been given to the INP Jamath by the Vijayanagara king, Sadasiva Raya in 1553 and had been associated with prayer giving from that time.
The local governance of Ilaiyangudi is conducted under the Panchayati system. The town is divided into 18 wards. Elections for representatives of the wards are held every five years. The Ilaiyangudi panchayat provides water and sewerage amenities to nearly 6,000 residences and builds roads within the town limits. The services are funded by taxes paid to the panchayat.
Iliayyangudi is a center of governance (tehsil) for the town itself, an area of 16.4 km2, and for many surrounding villages.
The Ilaiyangudi assembly constituency is part of the Sivaganga Lok Sabha.
In 1965, under a Delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies Order, during the election of the 4th Lok Sabha, Ilaiyangudi became the 197th constituency of the Tamil Nadu state legislative assembly.
In 2008, under a Delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituency Order, the Ilaiyangudi assembly constituency was merged with Manamadurai.
Ilaiyangudi is a service town for surrounding villages. It has commercial entities such as banks, offices, marriage halls, computer stores, hardware shops, cycle shops, audio and video equipment shops, photo studios, and printing presses. Kadai Theru is the main shopping area. The Kanmaai Karai area's teashops are open till midnight. Singarathoppu and Alankarathoppu are the major entertainment outlets.
Historic hotels include the Baatcha, Kansa, Ibrahim, Salai Kaka and the United.
Community services include a women's hospital, a police station, libraries and a post office as well as parks and playgrounds. Sports facilities are popular with young people, particularly for soccer.
People from Ilaiyangudi have contributed to Tamil literature. However, few works of Ilaiyangudi authors have been preserved as printed works.
Thenmalaikhan Mathura Kavi Batcha Pulavar (1860 CE – 1930 CE) lived in Ilaiyangudi and was honoured with a parcel of land (a pattayam) by the Zamindar of Sivaganga. He was a descendant of the Noordeen family. A building in Ilaiyangudi, built by Mathura Kavi's grandson, and a street in Ilaiyangudi are named after Mathura Kavi.
In 1892 CE, Mathura Kavi wrote a collection of poems in praise of Nagoor Meeran Shahib. The first edition was published by Mohamed Samadani Press (Ibrahim Rawoother) in Karaikal. The second edition was published in 1963 CE by Quraniya Press (Abdul Jabbar) in Madurai. Also in 1892 CE, the Madurai Pandiyan Press published his Pillai Thzamil Collection. In them, he narrates the childhood events of Nagore Shahul Hamid (1490 CE – 1579 CE), an Islamic mystic saint and preacher in Tamil Nadu. A second edition was published in 1963 CE by Quraniya Press, Madurai. The collection includes four short poems, Kalithurai, Nagai Patthu, Nagai Kochagam and Nagai Thiruvasagam.
His other works include Arul Mani Malai, poems venerating Karaikal Kadir Mohideen. Karaikal had published Mathur Kavi's Hazarat Shahu Ali Masthan Oli Shahib poems at the Mohamed Samadani Press. A second edition was published by Quraniya Press in 1963. His Thirukarana Vannangal poems, and the Deen Vilakka Vannam poems dedicated to Hazarat Syed Ibrahim Sahid of Ervadi, were published by the Karaikal Mohamed Samadani Press in 1895 CE and a second edition published by Quraniaya Press in Madurai, also in 1963. His book, Pancha Rathina Vannangal was not published but remnants of handwritten copies were found in his house and published by 1963 by Quraniya Press. In 1922, Kuthubu Mani Malai, dedicated by Mathura Kavi to Mohideen Abdul Kadir Jailani was published by Thubash T. K. Mohamed Ibrahim of Abiramam-Natham, a relative of Mathura Kavi and a representative of the Manonmani Vilasam Press in Madurai.
Pallaiyammal was the first published poet of Ilaiyangudi. Her father was Lukman Rawoother, a philosopher. Pillaiyammal's main theme was wisdom.
Rawoother wrote Singara Vazhi Lavani about Ilaiyangudi. It was published in 1918 by Sivagangai Sri Kala Press.
- Allama Karim Gani, academic and independence activist. He was an associate of Subhas Chandra Bose.
- A. P. Mohamed Ali (born 15 June 1946), officer in the Indian Police Service. He received a doctoral degree in Criminology from University of Madras.
- P. N. Abuthalib, Joint Secretary of Indian Union Muslim League. He was an associate of the politician, Muhammad Ismail.
- Vanjoor M. Peer Mohamed (1914 – 1987), a statesman, administrator, businessman and philanthropist. He provided the Dr. Zakir Hussain College main building and was a trustee of INP Jamath.
- T. K. A. Dewan Mohamed (1938 – 1986), the first Indian Administrative Service officer from Ilaiyangudi. He held the positions in the Government of Tamil Nadu of Collector and Additional Chief Secretary.
- T. K. S. Mohamed Iqbal, a member of the Indian Police Service. He was a Captain in the Indian Army during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Iqbal died on 21 May 1991 in the assassination bombing that killed Rajiv Gandhi.
- Ilayangudi Higher Secondary School (1914). The school was founded by the Ilayangudi Muslim Educational Association under Khalifa K. M. Abdul Kareem. In 1954, Oppadaiyar K. M. Sultan Aludeen and sons funded a new building. Shamnugaraja, a king of the Sivaganga Dynasty gave 14.5 acres of land. Initially, the land was registered to Kareem and then to the Ilaiyangudi Muslim Educational Association.
- Dr. Zakir Hussain College (1970). The college was established by the philanthropy of Al Haj V. M. Peer Mohamed who gave 2.78 acres of land. He was funded the first main building and First Correspondent of the College.
- Rahmanniya Elementary School (1914), Sanga Pallikoodam
- Ilayangudi Higher Secondary School
- Government Girls' High School
- Melapallivasal Girls' Higher Secondary School
- INP Metriculation School
- Iqra Metriculation School
- Hamidiyya Higher Secondary School, Salaiyur
- Haji K. K. Ibrahim Ali Higher Secondary School, Pudur
- Muslim Nalvali Abiviruthi School, Salaiyur
- St. Anne's Matric Higher Secondary School, Mallipattinam
- Al Ameen Buhari Technical Institute
- Arabic Madarasa, Purdur Road, land donated by Thappathai Naina Mohamed
The Sal Sabeel Trust, which was established in the early 1990s in Mallipattinam, Ilayangudi, is a Charitable Trust managing the "Orphan Child of Islamic Faith". The trust offers boarding, lodging and academic and Islamic education to at least 100 children. In 2013, the trust was passed to the Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath. The jamath opened the Al Rahim Madharasa.
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